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The Official Publication of the Moro Human Rights Center Inc.


Cover Story:
More of the Same

by Erwin Francis Gaerlan

The Many Facets of Conflict Resolution
by Sophia Dimalog

by Erwin M. Gaerlan

The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights

A Human Rights Framework For the Moro Struggle
by Cris M.Gaerlan, Jr.

Signs of Peace
by Sahara (Samira Gutoc)

by Faith Joan C. Mesa

News Bits
IMAN binuo ng mga estudyante
Moro Civilians Abducted by Military
- Jamal Matanog


Economics of War

2001 MORO HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT: More of the Same
by Erwin Francis Gaerlan

On Civil and Political rights:

Criminalizing political offenses remains a common practice in order to hide the political nature of the arrests and detentions.

At the height of the all-out war against terrorism, illegal arrests and detention of Muslim civilians were on the rise.

On June 2001, more than a hundred Muslim civilians in the Province of Basilan, mostly farmers where reportedly arrested, detained, tortured, and some 50% were immediately released for lack of evidence. They are all suspected members or sympathizers of the Abu Sayaff. (Please see Table No.1). We only documented 6 cases of involuntary disappearance in the province of Basilan, (Please see Table No.2)

The all out war against terrorism waged by the Arroyo government in Muslims bandits and insurgents particularly in Moro areas, resulted to a mass exodus and massive displacement of persons and families. (Please see Table No.3)

According to the US Committee for Refugees (USCR) World Refugee survey released at the end of 2001, the Philippines ranked third in Southeast Asia with the most number of internally displaced persons, second to Burma and Indonesia.

Worldwide, the Philippines ranked 28 on the list of identified 41 countries where mass exodus of people is pervasive. The committee has noted that the main reasons behind thee forcible movements of peoples are armed conflict, generalized situation of violence and atrocities against human rights. By government records alone, in 2001, at least 67,292 internally displaced persons have been caught in the armed conflict in Southern Philippines particularly in Moro Areas.

On Economic Social and Cultural and development rights

The Arroyo administration decided to continue the economic liberalization program of her predecessors. Industry by industry, the Philippine economy has been opened to foreign investments.

President Arroyo called Mindanao a Land of Promise; it is blessed with natural resources. The Philippine economy depends on Mindanao for 25% of rice; 67% of cattle and tuna; more than 50% of corn, fish and chicken; 100% of pineapple, rubber and banana exports; 90% of plywood and lumber; 63% of country’s nickel reserves; 48% of gold reserves; 38.5% of forest; and 38% of farmland.

Ironically, Mindanao is rich in natural resources, but of the country’s 24 poorest provinces, 16 are from Mindanao including the five provinces of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Mindanao contributes 40% of the national income, but gets back only 20% from the national budget. The government is acquiring more bullets and bombs to kill the Moro people.

A slowdown in economic growth, weak currency, and 2.36% population growth accounted for the reduction of per capita GDP from $977 in 2000 to $870 in 2001.

Income distribution is highly skewed in the Philippines. In a recent Family Income and Expenditure Survey, “the richest 30% of families earned 67% of national income, while the poorest 30% received approximately 8%.” The incidence of poverty worsened during the year and approached 40%. It is more severe in rural areas, with more than 54% of the rural population unable to meet basic needs. No wonder basic needs such as food, shelter and medicines are severely lacking. Poverty has bred unrest and
motivated communities to take action to save their humanity.

Indeed, the inhumane conditions borne by poverty and lack of economic opportunities among the majority of our countrymen, particularly among the Moro people need to be addressed if genuine and lasting peace is to be attained in Mindanao. Otherwise, we will see more of the same trends in human rights violations in the coming years. |K|